1. Posers et vendus.

    That was one of the most upsetting things I have seen out of this farce in Copenhagen to date. It is difficult to put together any rational response that won’t get me arrested for attempting to incite violence.

  2. Well, it’s clear NG is growing…it never stopped, really, with every new power plant in Ca. built in the last 10 years has been a NG GT. Clearly reserves have gone up and talk of ‘peak gas’ has all but gone from the lips of the fossil fuel peak-doomers out there.

    There will be a huge overlapping counter interests now between NG and nuclear. NG would like to replace all forms of base load energy…clearly Gen III nuclear could replace all baseload gas but not peak gas.

    Of course what you have now is the ultimate devil’s deal between the ant-nukes and NG industry.


  3. This was a very long panel session. I would like to make two small technology related comments and hope that others might cover other broad concerns raised by the panelists.

    1) The role that panelists see natural gas serving as a complementary “peak generation” load balancing energy resource when used together with “sustainable” energy sources like wind and solar could, practically, be provided by nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is typically envisioned as a base load resource only. Nuclear power plants certainly can perform base load requirement very well. Charles Barton has argued, effectively in my opinion, that LFTR molten salt reactors, that were originally devised as nuclear aircraft power sources, can safely load follow and provide fill in power when climate sensitive solar and wind is not available. Molten Salt LFTR reactors could fill the slot envisioned by panelists for natural gas and are the form of nuclear energy most suitable to do so.

    2) Panelists clearly believed that natural gas has a significant advantage over its ugly cousin, coal, in CO2 emissions. Conventional understanding, shared by the panel, is that natural gas produces half the CO2 of coal when burned to produce a given amount of energy. I would like to suggest that there is a technology for utilizing coal that is fully the equivalent of natural gas in terms of CO2 emissions. That is Direct Carbon Fuel Cells (DCFCs). Direct Carbon Fuel Cells convert the chemical energy stored in coal directly into electricity without going through the intermediate step of burning the coal. Dr. John Cooper at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has pioneered the development of specially constructed fuel cells that run at elevated temperatures on the order of 700 to 750 degrees C to extract the chemical energy stored in coal at a demonstrated efficiency of around 80%. This is double the typical efficiency of well designed coal fired power plants which operate at efficiencies around 40%. DCFC fuel cells avoid some of the most annoying air pollution consequences of using coal. There is no need to release large amounts of particulates into the air. DCFC fuel cells should produce significantly less sulfur and mercury contaminants relative to coal fired power plants. The output of the DCFC fuel cell is easily used electricity although a DC to AC electrical power transformation may be required to feed the electricity into the power grid.

    Direct Carbon Fuel Cells produce half the amount of CO2 Green House Gas as any other approach to using coal.

  4. @Robert – thank you for telling us about the FCFC. This is the first time I’ve heard of this technology and on the surface it sounds a lot more practical than any CCS scheme. Funny how we don’t hear about the technologies that would burn LESS coal.

  5. @Robert Steinhaus-

    I believed once that there was a chance we could work with gas. Had gas chosen to present itself as the complimentary fuel to nuclear they would have been welcomed with open arms, however instead they have decided to back renewables.

    The reason they support wind and solar is because they know that these modes will never live up to the hopes and promises that have attended these, and they know that they will sell more of their product makeing up the difference.

    They have no use for nuclear energy, and certainly no use for small reactors, which they properly understand represent a threat to their core business. They are not our friends, and the hand of this industry can be found in just about every organized antinuclear group above a certain size.

    What makes me particularly sick watching this video given its venue, that not only are they pushing a technology that will continue to emit CO2 and water vapor, both GHG, but the increased activity in that sector will mean more raw methane will also be released exacerbating the problem.

    The argument that they are better than coal is like saying prostrate cancer is superior to colon cancer because it doesn’t kill you as quickly if left unchecked. True as far as it goes, but suboptimal ether way.

  6. @DV82XL, your last comment hits the nail straight on the head. Gas knowing wind and solar are doomed to be niche players see a mega marketing opportunity. That wind and solar will only be niche players I think is mathematically provable. I don’t have the background to develop the models but we know that they have difficulty scaling. I posit there is a point of diminishing returns factoring in logistics, economy, scale, materials and NIMBY backlash that would naturally regulate renewables to no more than 10-12% of the grid for populations of 50 million plus. I can’t prove it, but I hope there is someone who could. By having some solid models to run simulations with, maybe we could paint a more realistic version of what the future might look like if we ran with some of these fantasies. Those simulation outcomes might help the rest be a little less vulnerable to the rhetoric from the gas industry.

  7. I would like to thank Jason and DV82XL for their insightful comments. I agree with you and feel that natural gas leads all other energy sectors in marketing acumen (not in technology).

Comments are closed.

Recent Comments from our Readers

  1. Avatar
  2. Avatar
  3. Avatar
  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar

Similar Posts